Boom Penrith youngster Bryce Cartwright has been identified by the surging Sydney Roosters as the player they need to nullify in Saturday’s NRL clash between the two teams.
The 20-year-old rising star tore apart the reigning premiers South Sydney last week and left a strong impression on the Roosters heading into this weekend’s game at Penrith.
“I think Bryce Cartwright is really one to watch. He’s only young, but he’s got a lot of talent,” Roosters’ centre Blake Ferguson told AAP.
“I think containing him will go a long way to winning the game on Saturday.”
The nephew of Panthers legend John Cartwright, Bryce barracked for the Roosters as a child.
He is part of a pack that has earned the respect of Roosters forward enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
“They’ve been outstanding,” Waerea-Hargreaves told AAP.
“I watched them against the Bunnies last weekend and Cartwright on the edges is playing well.
“They’ve got some big front rowers … it’s going to be tough.”
The Roosters should regain the services of four Origin players in backs Mitchell Pearce and Michael Jennings and forwards Boyd Cordner and and Aidan Guerra.
Cordner and Guerra started to emerge as impact players during the Roosters run to the 2013 NRL title, but have now graduated into frontline forwards with Origin and Test experience.
“They were running around as maybe juniors or starting off their NRL careers and now they’ve got games under their belts,” Waerea-Hargreaves said.
“The experience they have got now is a hell of a lot better than what they did have, so they are going great.”
The third-placed Roosters have won their past three games, and six of their last seven.
“We’re going well, were travelling nicely,” Waerea-Hargreaves said.
“Obviously, there’re still a lot of things we need to be working on, but we’re sitting there.
“We know as a playing group we’ve got a lot to learn and a lot to improve on.
“This is the business time of the season and everyone starts doing everything they can to prepare well for each game coming into the back end of the season.
He said focus was off areas such as nutrition and recover now, and it was time to knuckle down.
“This is where you want to start gelling and getting combinations going and start rolling to finals.”